Saturday, December 05, 2009

Beware the ideas of Orson.

Written in the style, or at the least in the attitude, of Orson Welles.

YOU THERE! Yes, you! Don't think I can't see you, I've got eyes in the back of my head. Come and sit down. Be quiet! What I've got to say to you is much more important than whatever you've got to do. It always will be. How can I respect you if you're not fully committed to this thing? Good. That's better. Now pay attention. I'm only going to say this once.

You must see Me and Orson Welles. No, no, it's no masterpiece - I can easily admit when things aren't perfect, you know, for often it's the imperfections that make things so palatable to the human emotions. It was always going to be the way with Richard Linklater, anyway - the man's style is too loose, too free to ever let a tightly contained masterpiece out of his soul, and here that's even tempered by the rather obvious structuring of the piece. You can't blame him for that, though. He had to work with the sub-par writing he was given - the man's a director, a visionary, and it's a shame he has such amateurs around him. I'd never let such things pass, naturally.

It feels a little under-budgeted, a little too enclosed to really engage on a sensory level, but we've all had to work with money constraints, haven't we. It all works with the theme of creating a masterwork out of rag-tag bits and disasters. At least it looks good - that Dick Pope's been around for a while, always making things look stripped-back in an attractive sort of way (the best way to be, really, don't you agree?), and he never gets enough credit. Give those costumers, credit, too, especially for undermining Zac Efron's naive cockiness by putting him in dungarees (good lord) and shirts that are miles too big for him. Nice details, but they don't go unnoticed by my keen eye. Nothing ever does. (Stop fidgeting.)

Then there's that Zac Efron. Too pretty for his own good, that boy is. He usurps the whole thing, almost, just by existing. I'm not denying I'd like a thing with him on the side, really, although no one of us has got into his pants yet so I wouldn't bother trying. (Plus if you do I'll make sure you never work in this town again. SIT DOWN.) He's good, though; he cleverly uses the arrogance it's easy to see in him to deepen the character's youthful, misguided arrogance. And really, Christian McKay is so strong, so unmatched in magnificence that even Zac's face can't run away with the picture. And I've not even mentioned that Claire Danes commits her easiest, most engaging performance in several years to her part, or that the ensemble cast makes the film feel even more alive. I see a lot of myself in McKay, actually - the fearlessness, the passion, the raw magnetism. He even manages to make the obligatory "see, this guy isn't a monster really!" moments work by carving them from the exact same piece as the rest of his performance, and muddies whether this moment is really you seeing Welles' soul or merely another manipulation. Without him, the film would be severely lacking; it'd simply be called Me, and that's a ridiculous title. Who's so self-obsessed they'd see a film called Me?

WHAT DO YOU MEAN "I WOULD"? You're fired. Never show your face around here again. I don't have time for amateurs like you.

(B-)

1 comment:

Cal said...

I'm a linklater fan but wasn't going to see this until McKay's Oscar buzz got going. Efron annoys the hell out of me!

Welcome back! I missed you.